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Google Home and Chromecast vs. Amazon Echo and Fire TV: Which is the best hands-free TV experience?

PCWorld

Amazon added Fire TV voice controls to the Echo speaker and other Alexa devices a couple weeks ago, while Google has offered similar voice controls for Chromecast through its own Google Home speaker since last December. Amazon Echo voice commands work with any Fire TV device (including first-generation models). In May, Google announced that it was expanding voice controls to HBO Now, Hulu, YouTube TV, Google Play Movies & TV, CBS All Access, Food Network, CW, HGTV, Red Bull TV, Travel Channel, Crackle, DIY Network, Viki, and Cooking Channel, but it's unclear when this support will become available. Although Google Home and Amazon Alexa don't offer direct control over most televisions and sound systems, they both work with Logitech Harmony hubs, which in turn can control various TVs, sound systems, and streaming boxes.


Google Home hands-free calling is here, but doesn't yet have caller ID

PCWorld

Starting Wednesday, you'll be able to use your Home speaker to place a call to virtually any person in your contacts or business across the U.S. or Canada, but there's a catch: The recipient won't know who's calling. Since Google Home uses its own number to place the call, the recipient will see "Unknown" or "No Caller ID" on their end. Voice calling for Google Home is rolling out to all speakers today. The impact on you--and your Home: Voice calling on Google Home isn't quite the killer feature we thought it would be, but at least the pieces are definitely in place for something awesome.


JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker review: Better-than-expected sound in a compact, waterproof enclosure

PCWorld

That's how you'll feel if you drop a C-note on JBL's Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker. Lay it horizontally, and the speaker almost automatically rolls into a position where that strip holds the drivers pointed slightly up and toward your ears. The speaker's power button and a JBL Connect button (more on that in a bit) are located on that rubber strip, along with a 5-element LED to indicate current the battery level. A thick rubber plug protects water and dirt from getting into the 1/8-inch headphone jack and USB charging port.


Best soundbars

PCWorld

The HW-M450 supports additional wireless speakers for a full wireless 5.1-channel surround sound, and you can connect the soundbar to compatible TVs via Bluetooth for an entirely wireless setup. The YAS-706 is simply an all-around top performer, delivering excellent sonics, rich features, strong streaming support, and forthcoming Amazon Alexa integration, so that you can control this soundbar with spoken commands. A soundbar is typically a one- or two-piece speaker system whose primary purpose is to bring quality sound back to modern TVs (two-piece systems include a subwoofer). Everything else being equal, the smaller the sound soundbar or sound base, the less room it has for larger speakers and features (codec support, wireless connectivity, multiple inputs and outputs, and so on).


BrandPost: Power to The People: How Texting Can Boost Customer Service

PCWorld

"The messaging apps have to make communication easier for the customer and demonstrate to the customer that their voice is being heard by the organization." We asked experts what features should communication leaders look for when implementing a messaging app into their customer communication strategy. In order to boost customer communication, companies need to develop apps that'speak to' consumers, addressing concerns, promoting products and services, but also fulfilling the needs of consumers." "The messaging apps have to make communication easier for the customer and demonstrate to the customer that their voice is being heard by the organization."


How to stop Google Home or Amazon Echo from making unwanted online purchases

PCWorld

There's no denying that Google Home and Amazon Echo (or the less-expensive Echo Dot, if you're not using it for music) have changed the way we interact with our homes. If you want to start--or restart--making payments with voice commands, open the Google Home app, tap the menu button, and then tap on Payments. You can enable and disable ordering on Google Home via the Home app. Amazon's smart speakers are quickly becoming smart-home workhorses, but they could also be considered Trojan horses aimed at capturing more and more of your shopping dollars.Here's how to disable--and then re-enable--purchasing power with an Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap, or Show.


Best web browsers of 2017: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera go head-to-head

PCWorld

If you still want the built-in option for Windows that would be Edge, but it's hard to stick strictly with Edge when you've got other choices including Google's Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. Yet Google still finds a way to hide all kinds of features inside the browser, including deep integration with Google's services. Where Firefox has really shined in recent years is with the browser's incognito mode. It's based on the same core technologies as Chrome (the Blink rendering engine and the JavaScript V8 engine), which means it can run many Chrome extensions--there's even an extension for installing extensions from the Chrome Web Store.


Amazon Fire TV gets hands-free voice control via Echo and other Alexa devices

PCWorld

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is ready to control your Fire TV . Hands-free voice control is available now on all Fire TV boxes and Fire TV Sticks in the United States, and should be available on all Fire TV Edition televisions in the United States by the end of this week. For now, launching directly into a video works with Amazon Prime on all Fire TV devices, and with over-the-air channels on Fire TV Edition televisions. Google also supports voice control over Chromecast-enabled devices using its Google Home speaker, and this works with several third-party services including Netflix and Hulu.


mobility-and-messaging-revolution-raises-the-bar-for-customer-experience.html#tk.rss_all

PCWorld

"The main focus should be on a more personalized experience, proactive and fast customer service." Increasingly, what they want can be boiled down to speed, and a personalized experience.Anja Wagner, social media marketing specialist, says "The main focus should be on a more personalized experience, proactive and fast customer service with the help of messenger chatbots as well as creating valuable content for your customers." "The primary step to enhancing the customer experience are through personalized mobile messaging coupled with direct interaction from the organization, such as customized messaging directly from the organization to the consumer." Mobile messaging's speed an agility means organizations can experiment, says Thomas Keil, Manager Field Marketing at SAS and big data expert.


Microsoft slips four more features into the Fall Creators Update with Build 16251

PCWorld

Microsoft isn't quite finished developing Windows 10's Fall Creators Update after all: Four new features were added as part of Windows 10 Insider Build 16251, including new Cortana capabilities and more communication between Windows and your phone. Why this matters: Microsoft pledged to make the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update a tool for connectivity as much as creativity, with several key features that are slowly rolling out to Insiders. In Insider Build 14986, Microsoft included the capability to turn off your PC orally with a Cortana command. In the new build, you can take your Android phones--yes, Android--open a webpage, then share the page to your PC using the native Share button.